Primary health care services for sick children:
Caritas medical outreach team has provided services to 1613 children under 12 years old since the start of the project in October 2016.
Children in the outreach areas are more vulnerable to common diseases than other children in the Gaza Strip, this is caused mainly by the environmental effects of life in the marginalized areas. One particular challenge is access to clean water. Gaza strip relies heavily on the underground aquifer which has been depleted over the years. Also in many areas, including the outreach areas Caritas operates in, the aquifer is contaminated and not suitable for human use. Through the project, the medical outreach team treats many children suffering from infections related to contaminated waters, for example, abdominal pain, intestinal infections, and other types of diseases. Also, as part of the nutritional awareness sessions, Caritas nutritionist instructs parents on how to insure that the water supply at the household is clean and safe for use of children.
Antenatal health care to pregnant women:
Caritas medical outreach team has provided antenatal healthcare services to a total of 829 pregnant women since the start of the project in October 2016.
Through the project, Caritas Jerusalem will provide pregnant women with high quality services they usually don’t get at free medical service providers i.e. government or UNRWA. The services include periodical ultrasound scans for mothers, regular follow up with Caritas gynecologist, and in case of infections, the required antibiotics and treatment will be provided all free of charge. In addition, as value added service, nutritional awareness sessions will be provided for all mothers in the program. Through the sessions, Caritas nutritionist will introduce special diets for the pregnant women and will teach the women how to care for their newborns once they deliver.
So far, by the end of May 2017, 217 women have already given birth and have received their baby layettes. More women are expected to give birth in the upcoming months.
Suha is a forty one year old married woman from Al Shaja’aiyya, Gaza who lives with her husband and five daughters and three sons who attend school. Suha is a housewife; her husband is the only breadwinner who is a daily paid worker with an average salary of $10 per day. This very low income is not enough to cover the daily expenses, educational costs and any treatment costs. After the recent war on Gaza, the family lost their home; it was fully destroyed and they had to move to a small rented house.
Suha started to attend the psychosocial support sessions for the mothers and during one-on-one sessions, CJ’s psychosocial specialist identified that Suha suffered from stress, self-blame, lack of sleep and emotional disturbance that affected the relationship with her children. She also had suicidal tendencies and that she considered harming herself or even thought of committing suicide.
She used to attend the sessions and was very passive and interacting with others and she would always show negative response or no response at all. Those syndromes are common with people suffering from acute depression.
Moreover, Suha’s daughter who attends the psychosocial support sessions for children also suffered from depression and she was always crying and sitting alone refusing to participate with others in the activities.